A Very Late Update

So it’s been a long while since I wrote. If you haven’t been on my IG, we’ve got a lot to catch up on.

Family-wise, we’ve grown although maybe not in the expected way. Back in February, Si  was putting in the last of the Expol underfloor insulation. I was in the room above him and I heard an “oh shit!’ then a much much louder “go and get your mother!”. I went around and under the house where he told me that he thought we had rats. We don’t even have a compost bin and live in suburbia, and I thought this was really unrealistic. Sure enough, after I grabbed his headtorch and had a look, it wasn’t. I was exceptionally passive aggressive when I made the torch shine directly in his eyes and said “…it’s kittens”.

Turns out Mama Cat was dumped when the people behind us moved out. She wasn’t much more than a kitten herself and was malnourished and therefore so were the kittens. We found three live kittens and brought them into the house to be warmed up and fed. So now we have Charlie (was 205gm), Elise (was 225gm) and Kayn (was 265gm) – at nearly six months, Kayn is “average” while the girls are much smaller, but everyone is now thriving. Mama is now spayed and re-homed, but the three terrors are staying with us.

Charlie, day one
Kayn, Elise & Charlie, night one
Charlie, on Sunday. An ideal builders cat!

And I have a teenager again – and we’ve done the high school visit. Ouch.

Work-wise, nothing much has changed for me. The role has reduced down again, so it’s getting to time to look for something more. I have read over the material for the next Tikanga paper, and decided not to proceed there. I think language might be the go, or a dressmaking course. Honestly, it’s all about me so I’ll move the way I want to.

Reading-wise, I am devouring older Nora Roberts, Deb Kastner, Becky Wade and anything that has a Christian/K-9 Assistance trope. Luckily that’s a huge swathe of Harlequin novels so I’ll be there until that runs out.  Re-watching older episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, Taskmaster UK, and The Great British Sewing Bee. I made a lined waistcoat for Si, for his formal awards dinner (his team theme was loud), and now I’ve mastered darts and bagging out. Woot. Patrick Grant would still be looking down his nose at it!

Stitching wise, I have finished quite a few things, started some more and purchased even more. I have mastered a few embroidery stitches – queen was a real headache to ensure it was even – and have put off starting a Chatelaine mandala as (insert gasps here) I have fallen into the full coverage rabbit hole. I know. I know!! Please God, let me live to 102… Pattern Keeper is an amazing app

Finishes:

  • Mirabilia Fairy Idyll
  • HOD North Pole Trading Company (adapted to two antlers, not three)
  • Mill Hill Sunday Night (two of course, and FFO’d)
  • HOD Cookie Exchange SAL (need to FFO on a kitchen board)
  • HOD Reflect Upon Your Present Blessings
  • La-D-Da Sweet Pea (on Floba, FFO’d even!)
  • Tis The Season Abigail’s Sampler (good for learning new stitches)
  • Faby Reilly Fox biscornu (ready to FFO at the Thames Retreat)
Sweet Pea #ffo

Still to complete:

  • Chatelaine Castle I (still back stitching the gate)
  • Beth Twist/Heartstring Samplery Coffee Quaker (my over one conversion)
  • Mirabilia Princess Elliana (still working on conversion)
  • Mirabilia Le Nouveau Sampler (LHS of garden)
  • Mirabilia Fairy Tales (to bead)

Started since we last chatted:

  • Nora Corbett Coral Charms (converting to the same look as my Luce Mia mermaid)
  • Stitching Jules’ Watercolour Sheltie (via etsy, about 15%)
  • HAED Lesley Anne Ivory Tournee Le Chat Noir (about 12%, but it’s HUGE)
  • Ink Circles Red Velvet
  • HAED Aimee Stewart Cliffhanger (mini, just over 26%)
  • Just Nan Garden Porch Mice (on floba)
Cliffhanger by Aimee Stewart

I’m also working on the Nora Corbett Patreon pattern, Rogue Dragon. He’ll be converted, as hers is red/orange tones, and that isn’t my jam. He’s the next cab off the rank once Garden Porch Mice is done, as I really do want to see what & how the humbug forms. I’ve not completed one of those before. One of the ladies at the embroidery group I go to had one done last month, but on 32ct so much smaller. I have the 32ct for this one still with the chart, but I doubt I’ll do it again. Also, the urn and mice could go well into another Hare, especially if I was to use the same shape as the Sweet Pea I finished this month.

Anyway, I will try to write more frequently. I’d like to get back into a weekly routine again, and Zeb has been asking for flosstube again. Not sure if I have the emotional spoons for that but we’ll see. Where on earth would I start from??

Take care!

August 21 WIPocalypse

Hello everyone! WIPocalypse is the monthly check-in SAL hosted by Measi on her blog, and via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers! Click on the icon to the right to learn more.  If you’re a crafter, please join up either on your blog or via the Facebook group.

Last month I signed up to do the Marathon, which basically meant I needed to be monogamous to the one piece. I’d started the Bothy Threads/Hannah Dale Moongazer pattern and as it was relatively easy to transport, staying faithful to it was also easy (also helped by UPS sitting on my other parcel for five weeks).  I got to roughly the half-way mark during the event, which I was pretty happy with. I finished Tiger later in the month and switched over to Fairy Idyll, as that’s what I was feeling.

Saturday mid-month is our local Stitch Group meet-up in Te Atatu, a small peninsula here in West Auckland. I look forward to this get-together but sometimes I’m a bit cross with myself, that it took me so long to find a group of crafty, funny, soul-enriching people. I put the kids and SI’s refereeing first for so many Saturdays but now that we’re getting into the next phase (only one truly dependent child, woot!) it is easier to be selfish. I used this meet-up as an opportunity to pass on some of The Dragon’s stash, and about ¾ is now gone. The remainder will go into the pile I’ll take to the annual meet-up next year, or to the Hospice shop. The additional benefit this last weekend was that Mase was at a birthday party/overnighter so there wasn’t any hurry to be somewhere after. Next month will need to be a Teams or Zoom meeting I guess.

At my embroidery class I’ve mastered stem stitch, and surprised myself by remembering how to do woven roses without any nudging. I’m making myself a felt scissor pouch to start with, as the clippers I use came in the most useless, fragile plastic wallet and really need to be contained. Hopefully I will find the Stitchsmith Tree of Life project that I put away in a fit of feeling inadequate and be able to finish it. Class is now postponed until we are in Level One. Bugger.

Looking at my second half’s goals:

  • Complete Un Ricarmo per Rinascere COMPLETED
  • Complete Bothy “Moongazer” COMPLETED
  • Complete the Chatelaine Castle I (at half way mark) REPLACING WITH FAIRY IDYLL
  • Complete Faby Reilly Fox biscornu (at back stitch mark, & back to stitch)

Pretty content with where I’m at for this point, altho I am thinking of simply not making the Fox biscornu into a biscornu, and just framing the front piece. I have so many things that I want to work on that I am going to end up doing small-Mira-small-Mira for a while. And by Mira I mean that I will take one of the kitted ones and work on it until I’m bored or frustrated, then switch to a small. Fairy Idyll is be the first cab off the rank, as I have the two arms over one and some of her dress to do, then she’s done…

  • Fairy Idyll (three quarters completed)
  • Elliana (started the conversion)
  • Twisted Mermaids (want to convert to be the twin of Under the Deep Blue)
  • Ophelia (not started, going to use Dewn’s face conversion)
  • Garden Prelude (not started)
  • Feather Fairy (not started)
  • Holly Pixie (not started)
  • Moonlight Laguna (not started)
  • Sunrise Laguna (not started)
  • Coral Charms (convert to the same as my Luce Mia mermaid)
  • Bella Vita (convert to the same as my Luce Mia mermaid)

September is Sampler September, and as is typical, I cannot find my chart of Le Nouveaux Sampler (yes, another Mirabilia!) so I’ve borrowed Zeb’s via a non-contact delivery, and have started this on 28count Feijoa Lugana from Countrystitch. A replacement has left Chicago airport and is on it’s way out to me now. This means of course that I will find my original chart in a couple of weeks…

August 29 – Which of your project finishes made you the most proud? The most relieved?

I think my favourite finish would be the Alma Lynne Noah’s Ark sampler. This is the first piece I modified, adding in the details about Brandon at birth; the first time I substituted in different threads, using metallic for the lightning bolt; and the first I had framed for our own house.

The most relieved would be Persephone. Not only was she HUGE I was using my own colour conversion and a fabric that could have gone very, very bad. I can see a couple of things I’d change now but overall, phew, she’s on the wall!

June WIPocalypse

Hello everyone! WIPocalypse is the monthly check-in SAL hosted by Measi on her blog, and via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers! Click on the icon to the right to learn more.  If you’re a crafter, please join up either on your blog or via the Facebook group.

June is that time where we recap our stitching goals for the year.

  • Complete stitching Red Skies at Night; DONE
  • Stitch Autumn/Winter and Spring series from Hands On Design;  NO
  • Stitch couple of Sandra Cozzolino Santa’s; NO but I brought more, does that count?
  • Start a second full coverage piece; NO
  • Work a little bit on Fred (Tapestry Cat); NO
  • Learn some new stitches. DONE, thanks to a partially completed Chatelaine.

I’ve been letting my whims take me along recently; and since the Christchurch stitch meet-up I’ve continued to expand my stitchy horizons. I’ve managed to get to one of the monthly Auckland meet-ups at Te Atatu Library (next one is 17th July, from noon, come along if you’re local & crafty); started a stitch Te Reo class (Te Reo being the Maori language, Maori being the indigenous people of New Zealand) and have brought a few more things, including a reprint of a Dimensions kit, The Finery of Nature; and two recent Mirabilias, Ophelia and Twisted Mermaids. I think I’m reaching SABLE point!

This last month I’ve worked on my Te Reo piece, E pai ana au (I am good) which is the answer to another kit, E pēhea ana koe? These are designed by Gemma Steward, @gbsneedlepoint on IG, and most of the class has completed their design, which is a great indication of how good a tutor Gemma is, as most of the class hadn’t stitched before. I’m there for the language and people.

At work, I’m reading and working on the Mill Hill Sunday Night kit, one for me and one for Louise. For only the second time, I’ve run out of a thread doing the second piece, but as it’s all DMC I’m not fussed. Home has been Un Ricarmo per Rinascere, and I’m into the bottom half of the chart. I’d like this to be done before Ophelia arrives.

I’m going to set some goals for the last half of the year:

  • Complete Un Ricarmo per Rinascere (past half way mark)
  • Complete Bothy “Moonlight” (not yet started)
  • Complete the Chatelaine Castle I (at half way mark)
  • Complete Faby Reilly Fox biscornu (at back stitch mark) ALSO find where I put that, whoops

I’m not making any buy/sell promises or goals. We all know I’m not sticking to anything there!

WIP Wednesday #289

Hello everyone! It’s late Wednesday and I’m about to head off to bed… My brain is very very tired. But before I do, here’s my WIP of Mirabilia Princess Elliana, definitely a work in progress with an awful lot of frogging.

This is just tonight, playing with the band above the blue (which is brown in the original). I’m still not sure about the darkest band, but I’ll wait a few days and see… The hair, collar, skin and tassel are as charted.

My second drool piece is a copy of Elisabetta Sforza’s latest. OMG.

I brought my copy of Ricamare il Mare from the most local retailer – A Stitch in Time in Tasmania! I’ll be visiting that shop when we head over to explore.

I’ll need to do a lot more practice and drop some cross stitch projects down the want to work on list. I brought a pattern today for a felt apple, each wedge being an example of a set of stitches, then the finished item becomes not only a visual guide but a practical item too – a pincushion, or with a weighted fill, a paperweight perhaps.

Anyway, have a lovely week. Take care of yourselves, physically and mentally. A challenge for you – keep a 7 day diary, just one sentence of something that makes you happy that day. I’ll share mine next week.

WIP Wednesday #280

Hello lovelies. I’m writing today from my lovely home desk; looking out at the pruned lavender and roses – that was a Sunday job, in the hope more bloom will be out for Christmas Day. I’m watching Bridgerton promos, hoping these turn out at least half as good as the books. At the very least they seem to be educating a few on the Georgian court/clothing/colours. And I’m mildly celebrating the Electoral College confirming Joe Biden as the next POTUS.

There hasn’t been anything exotic this last week, unless you consider only having to cook a couple of nights as exotic! Not only did we eat out twice (once for work do, once with a very dear friend) but the boys decided not to clean up the kitchen. If there isn’t workspace, I don’t cook! No travel, no adventure – I’m needing to hunker down for a bit until Christmas is done. Irrespective of it being our Saviour’s birth, it can be a very stressful time.

Stitching wise I am slowly moving along with both the middle Summer hoop of Hands on Design’s Well Rounded, but I’ve completed the stitching portion of the top side of the Faby Reilly biscornu. There is a LOT of back stitch in my future…

Stay well – stay home, wear a mask, support your local retailers where you can. x

WIP Wednesday #279

Hello lovelies. I’m going to start today’s post with a bit from the wonderful, gentle soul that is Kristen Strong. Long time readers might remember me talking about her books Girl Meets Change or Back Roads to Belonging. I really do go back to these books, and Change in particular. I am NOT good at change.

Kristen has one passage today that really spoke to me. “This Christmas season may be the most difficult one you’ve experienced to date. If that’s true, then I’m so sorry. Like the people of Israel who didn’t receive what they expected but needed, I pray the Lord shows you today, even this hour, a glimpse of His Light telling the dark corners of your heart  exactly what it needs to know.”

If you want to read the whole blog entry, or see more from Kristen (who is also part of (in)courage) check her out HERE https://kristenstrong.com/letting-go-of-expectations-and-letting-in-the-light/

On Sunday Si & I went back up to Omaha and competed in the half marathon/10K distances. Both of us finished, both slightly slower than Devonport despite the fact the track was flatter as it was HOT! I ended up needing medical attention as (for the first time in my life) my blood pressure dropped like a stone. I don’t know why as I drank heaps during the walk; I can only put it down to eating breakfast which I wouldn’t normally do prior to exercise. I shan’t make that mistake again, as I’m still a little shady.

A sculpture I walked past about half way…

I am planning on scheduling in training times, adding in a few bootcamps, getting proper orthotics for my plantar (on-the-shelf product isn’t working as well as I would hope) and maybe doing a virtual event between now and Valentine’s Day, which is the next event on the calendar.

Stitching wise, I had a thread finish on the Barbados Santas but I didn’t want to take beading away with me, so I took the Hands On Design (Cathy Habermann) Well Rounded summer stitching away with me. I have completed the smaller design of the three and started the middle, which has the beautiful use of negative space that I like. I think I will hoop finish these then put Velcro on the back, so I can hang each season vertically down a wide ribbon.

The first Summer circle is stitched

I am still trying to think about 2021. Do I want to float from project to project as the wind or whim takes me, or be focused via the Magical Stitches list? Or simply pick 21 projects for 2021? That at the least might help reduce my WIP or stash pile, which has grown by a huge chunk (and is about to grow more, as I spent a ton on 123Stitch’s Pre-Christmas sale).  I wanted to stitch a stocking or two this year, but didn’t even start one. I have all those lovely charts that I picked up from Tina’s clearance, and most of the threads, so that would be inexpensive to roll out… decisions decisions!

November WIPocalypse

Hello everyone! WIPocalypse is the monthly check-in SAL hosted by Measi on her blog, and via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers! Click on the icon to the right to learn more.  If you’re a crafter, please join up either on your blog or via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers!

Oh gosh. Here we go again with a catch-up post, as I missed October’s. Stitching without real goals means I am not at all as regular with posting as I would like to be, especially as I do use this blog as a form of a diary. Must do better, Paula!!

Since my last WIP Wednesday post, which would have been my last stitching update, I have finished Luce Mia, however she is quite converted from the original. Not so much that it’s glaringly obvious, but more so that she fitted in with the mermaid wall and our overall household aesthetic.

Converted Luce Mia
OriginalUsedfeatured
Luce Mia
722GAST Silver Fern2 skeins
3347987 
33483347body
898/4203078/3852hair
3347/3348987/3347tail
991924ribbon
958931ribbon
993932ribbon
9643752ribbon
1623753ribbon
MH 10030MH 42029ribbon
MH 42031MH 10030hair
MH 42031MH 02007body
3799356skin
3799898brow
3799310eyelash

I have completely given up on Stitch from Stash. I’m sick of feeling guilty about spending this year, and figure that my spend is helping smaller businesses and individuals who are finding it tougher than I am.  I am thinking about maybe next year trying to do it all from stash, as that could be a reasonable way to get thru my list and be a bit more productive than I have this year. I am toying with the Magical Stitchers group challenge, which will be based around the Percy Jackson books. Mase and I were planning on reading these anyway, so it could be a good fit. I’ll have to see which charts I can match to mythology – probably quite a few Mira’s!

At work I have been moving along on the Barbados Santa’s, and these are about three quarter’s done now. I will have new Santa’s for my tree this year! At home, I am working on a Faby Reilly biscornu and sadly, think this might be the first & last time I purchase one of her designs from Etsy. In the UK magazines, her charting symbols are quite clear and distinct from each other but I haven’t found this to be the case here. The actual result tho is amazing even without back stitching, so it might be something like childbirth, where you forget the pain and do it again anyway! I have also sent away for the teaching resources for the Embroidery Guild modules – OMG!! Scary stuff indeed.

October Question: How do you choose what you’re going to stitch on next? Right now, it’s all about what makes me happy. I’ve only got the backing to do for one of my Secret Santa presents; and this biscornu; then I can leap into something else. I’m thinking Holly, or Day Nymph (both by Nora Corbett) or finishing Fairy Tales (which needs those yellow roses frogging and re-doing, as the colours aren’t showing well enough). I just brought a hessian-like tree skirt from Spotlight and am thinking of doing some of Nora’s Reindeer around it…

Hands On Design altered for my Santee

November Question: What new discoveries did you have in the stitching world this year? I learnt that I like the DMC variegated threads when I use them in embroidery; and I learnt how to do French knots finally! Didn’t really venture too much out of my lane, except with the Sirens of the Sea piece and starting a Chatelaine banner. It’s enough that I want to learn more, hence applying to do the EGNZ modules.

I can’t believe that we are finally in the home stretch of 2020. I hope 2021 is a better year; that a validated vaccine against Covid-19 is available (and cheap for developing countries). That we all get to spend more time with family and friends than we do with fear. And so on… My list is growing!

June WIPocalypse

Hello everyone! WIPocalypse is the monthly check-in SAL hosted by Measi on her blog, and via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers! Click on the icon to the right to learn more.  If you’re a crafter, please join up either on your blog or via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers!

I had no real goals for June. I am still floating around, with little purpose. Work is work; there was Mum’s service; family discord with post service disappointments; more work & then I became very sick (as in covid tests, delays and now antibiotics & working from home when I should be resting). I’m not a happy camper overall. I would like to rewind 2020 and have a do-over, please.

I did a bit of shopping therapy and one chart has turned into a finish – I have amended some of the colours in Pohutukawa and changed the shore to fit the circle of the hoop finish that I intend to complete soon. I also brought Mirabilia Summer Queen as I have long regretted selling this one and Autumn on when I did. I’m waiting on two charts from 123Stitch – When Life is Done by Silver Creek Samplers, which I will do as a memorial piece for Mum and the HOD Stitching by the Sea. I’ve counted them in my June spend as they are charged & shipped, altho I may not get until July. I ended up finishing the half year in credit, $19.70, so that’s looking good.

My other finish was an Emma Congdon quote from the Pride & Prejudice movie. I know it’s not “canon” but I couldn’t get the brain space to re-chart it. This one is available on the Stitchrovia Etsy store.

June’s question is the Half-year recap:  How are you doing with your goals so far this year? Hmm. This is not going too well!

  • Complete all panels of Jim Shore’s 12 Days stopped in March
  • Complete Fairy Idyll (I bead as I go with this one) haven’t touched for at least 2 months
  • Complete Mermaid of Atlantis (which honestly is just the beading to go) YEAH
  • Complete the stitching on Shakespeare’s Fairies YEAH
  • Complete Tapestry Cat (my oldest WIP). Haven’t touched.

This week I start a course about Maori tikanga, or customs. That will take out a chunk of stitching time but I can listen to some of it while driving. I’m a little bit nervous about returning to semi-formal study (it is run by a tertiary institution and counts towards national standards) but I need to get over that. So for July I’d like to finish beading Shakespeare’s Fairies, put a little into Fairy Idyll and start When Life is Done. That’s it. Pretty simple!

All the best to you all. Stay safe, stay well, stay patient. God bless.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” 

– Leo Buscaglia

WIP Wednesday #272

Hello everyone! Today marks halfway thru the mandated national quarantine program. My personal opinion is that lockdown will extend further, but we’ll see what happens. Good bless the media, they ask the stupidest questions in the daily updates from the PM (can we vote her in for life?) & are looking for holes. I’m over negativity.

This week, I’ve finished both Antique Celtic Sampler and the Hands On Design #bewellandstitch freebie that is featured on Cathy’s blog. My thread choices are shown in the photo.

I’m now working on beading the two Genoa Santa’s from the Mill Hill & Sandra Cozzolino team. I’m mowing thru my WIPs and that makes me happy.

Hope you are all doing okay. Talk to you Friday or next Wed.

WIP Wednesday #268

Hello everyone! This weeks been a bit slow, apart from Saturday progress on my new start, Chatelaine Design mini castle I #071. That new start buzz got me thru most of the first two sections quite quickly, even tho I’ve not stitched on it today. Today I’ve mostly napped! Doctors visit tomorrow, when I expect to be told it’s the flu & to rest & get fluids. After all, that was Mase a week or so ago…

I’ve even learnt a new to me stitch, Sheaf. That’s only my first go, and it’s with Kreinik too, so I’m pretty happy with that.